Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by our team will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


Step 1: Research

Considering a home purchase in the vibrant Austin or the bustling Dallas/Fort Worth metro areas? Whether you're eyeing a modern condo in Downtown Austin, a cozy townhome in Fort Worth, or a spacious single-family home in the Dallas suburbs, understanding your preferences is the first step. Determine your ideal property type, essential features, and deal-breakers. In these dynamic real estate markets, staying informed about what’s available is key to finding your perfect home.

Keep a close watch on the changing asking prices and property availability in both Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth. This vigilance will provide you with valuable insights into the local housing trends, crucial for making an informed offer. The real estate landscape in these areas is ever-evolving, and staying updated will position you advantageously when you decide to step into the market. If you're uncertain or seeking more detailed insights into these specific regions, now is an excellent time to deepen your research or reach out to local real estate experts.


Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

When planning to buy a home in the Austin or Dallas/Fort Worth area, it's crucial to decide on your budget independently, rather than relying solely on what a mortgage company might offer. Often, lenders in these booming Texas markets may pre-approve amounts that exceed your comfort zone. Establishing a budget based on a comfortable monthly payment should be your first step, even before engaging with a lender.

Start by conducting a thorough assessment of your household budget. This is particularly important if you’re transitioning from apartment living or a shared housing situation in cities like Austin or Fort Worth. Remember to account for additional homeowner expenses that might not have been part of your previous living arrangements. These can include utilities like garbage and water services, as well as homeowner association (HOA) fees, which are common in many Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth neighborhoods. Underestimating these costs could strain your budget, so it’s essential to incorporate them into your financial planning.

By taking a proactive approach to budgeting, you can ensure a more financially comfortable and stress-free transition to homeownership in the vibrant communities of Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth.


Step 3: Get Prequalified

Understanding the criteria for mortgage approval is a critical step in the homebuying process. It's important to recognize that your perception of an affordable monthly payment might differ from what a mortgage company is willing to approve. Mortgage lenders assess various factors beyond just your income, and these can influence the amount you're eligible to borrow.

Factors such as your employment history, credit score, past financial challenges like bankruptcies, and other personal financial details play a significant role in the mortgage qualification process. A common misconception among prospective homeowners is assuming approval for a high loan amount or, conversely, facing unexpected denials or lower approvals.

To navigate this landscape effectively, engaging with a mortgage professional early is key. A preliminary consultation can clarify the amount you are likely to qualify for, based on your unique financial situation. This step is not just about setting realistic expectations; it also positions you as a serious buyer in the real estate market. Many sellers prioritize offers from buyers who have already secured prequalification for a loan, as it indicates financial readiness and seriousness about the purchase.

Taking these proactive measures in understanding and securing mortgage prequalification can streamline your homebuying journey, making it a more informed and efficient experience.


Step 4: Choose Jackson Group

Embarking on the search for your ideal home can be a complex and overwhelming process, but with Jackson Group, you gain a dedicated partner in navigating the real estate landscape. While it's technically possible to shop for, view, and make offers on properties without a real estate agent, partnering with us means tapping into our extensive market knowledge and expertise at no extra cost to you. Our agents specialize in identifying properties that align with your unique preferences, coordinating home showings, and skillfully managing the offer process. We bring a depth of insight and experience that is invaluable in the ever-evolving real estate market.

The journey to finding your dream home in today's market doesn’t have to be daunting. Jackson Group is here to transform this challenge into an exciting and seamless experience. Our team prides itself on a deep understanding of the market's nuances and a commitment to personalized service. Let us guide you through a curated selection of homes that meet your specific criteria, ensuring you find the perfect match for your lifestyle and needs. With Jackson Group, discover the ease and confidence that comes from having expert real estate advocates by your side every step of the way.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.


Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. We will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.


Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. We can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.


Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.


Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.


Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

Jackson Group

We take great pride in offering superior service to our clients. If you're in the market to buy or sell a home or land, please give us a call. We'd be happy to discuss your needs and provide advice with no obligation to you.

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